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Law Articles

When unmarried couples split up 05/09/2011

If you are buying a home with your loved one or you are moving in with your partner you should, at the very least, have a Trust Deed drawn up, and possibly a Living Together Agreement too. It may not be very romantic, but it could spare unmarried couples a lot of pain if they ever split up.

Thousands of unmarried couples are being misled by the myth of common law marriage. When couples buy a home together, many do so in the belief that they have similar rights to those who have tied the knot. But if they split up, the lack of any formal legal arrangement can turn their separation into a nightmare.

The reality is that the UK's 4.5 million unmarried couples do not have the same recognisable legal rights as married ones, even if they have been living together for many years and have children.

An unmarried couple only have formal legal rights when they buy a home together if they have been agreed via a lawyer in a written document - such as a Deed of Trust. This sets out, in black and white, exactly what should happen if they split, or should one of them die.

The consequences of not formalising these details could prove a disaster. If one person puts down a 60% deposit and the other takes out a mortgage for the remainder, the one who put more down could end up losing out. Even if records clearly show who paid, the aggrieved partner will need to prove it in court if the other half of the couple disagrees. Court proceedings of this nature are very expensive and lengthy so having a Trust Deed drawn up is the safest (and cheapest) option for unmarried couples who are buying property together.

For further information and advice on this issue, and other family law issues, please contact us for a free initial consultation on 01992 306 616 or 0207 956 2740 or email us.

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Manor Law Ltd, trading as Manor Law Family Solicitors, is a registered company in England and Wales - number 07977350, and is authorised and regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority - Hertford office SRA number 567506 and City of London office SRA number 568637. Copyright © Manor Law, 2016. All rights reserved.

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